Evil in history

Main Question or Discussion Point

I believe the world would be nothing as good as it is now if it weren't evil. Prove me wrong:
Napoleon-Evil: Invented the tin can and nursed Franceafter it's bloody revolution.
Leonardo da Vinci-Evil:Designed weapons of warfare, yet created some of the most beautiful pieces of artwork in existence.
Alexander the Great-Evil: Dominated the known world, and established many citadels.
Ghengis Kahn-Evil: Destroyed many a population, but made up for it with his own children.
George Bush-Evil: An absolute fool, but he got rid of Saddam.

Any other examples? :devil:
 

Answers and Replies

The world needs a sense of what evil is, or else we wouldn't know what good is.
 
good and evil don't exist
 
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Pengwuino
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Grotesque Puppet said:
The world needs a sense of what evil is, or else we wouldn't know what good is.
I think the unnecessary deaths of tens of millions of people can replace the world "evil". Then we can go from there.

It really depends on what industry or product type yoru talking about when it comes to deciding if massive wars and such have caused good or bad effects. For example, fruit drinks! Since industry was put on hold for luxuries like that, it really only flurished during peace times. Aircraft however, obviously, accelerated greatly during war/expected war times. Of course, even within specific product types, theres a difference in where acceleration happened. I'm not sure but I think of a few of the major innovations in firearms were made in peacetime.
 
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penguinraider said:
I believe the world would be nothing as good as it is now if it weren't evil. Prove me wrong:
Napoleon-Evil: Invented the tin can and nursed Franceafter it's bloody revolution.
Leonardo da Vinci-Evil:Designed weapons of warfare, yet created some of the most beautiful pieces of artwork in existence.
Alexander the Great-Evil: Dominated the known world, and established many citadels.
Ghengis Kahn-Evil: Destroyed many a population, but made up for it with his own children.
George Bush-Evil: An absolute fool, but he got rid of Saddam.

Any other examples? :devil:
haha... really funny... nothing as good if not for evil... nothing as black if not for white?

i know i'm using your defn of good out of context... :biggrin:

"nothing as good..." but how good does it have to be? If science were unrestricted by governments, politics, financial gains and blah blah blah... how good would it be?

we would continue to have greater technology unhindered from the need to have recognition and status. I realize that I'm stripping human tendencies away from humans, but if we all lived with the purpose not to harm, the world would be That Much a greater place... we just don't know it could be so good.
 
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yourdadonapogostick said:
good and evil don't exist
you are trying to say that good and evil are conceptions of our minds, at some level you are right...

however, in the big scheme of the world, we do have to factor human beings and so i think good is anything that results in a greater good... but it doesn't necessitate the use of evil means.
 
wolram
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penguinraider said:
I believe the world would be nothing as good as it is now if it weren't evil. Prove me wrong:
Napoleon-Evil: Invented the tin can and nursed Franceafter it's bloody revolution.
Leonardo da Vinci-Evil:Designed weapons of warfare, yet created some of the most beautiful pieces of artwork in existence.
Alexander the Great-Evil: Dominated the known world, and established many citadels.
Ghengis Kahn-Evil: Destroyed many a population, but made up for it with his own children.
George Bush-Evil: An absolute fool, but he got rid of Saddam.

Any other examples? :devil:
The subject is to broad, if none of the above existed would the
world be different? may be the wording ,good and evil should be replaced with
chaos.
 
Pengwuino
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Wait wait... something kinda confuses me here.

Napoleon didnt invent the tin can... his actions simply percipitated the need for tin cans
Da Vinci didnt exactly design legions of weapons... so im not sure how
And you saying someone is an absolute fool does not exactly make someone evil

And why do you say "prove me wrong". Are you creating a thread with facts you know are wrong or would you be better off saying "Does anyone disagree with me?"
 
arildno
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Jeffrey Dahmer-Evil, he got a few jollies out of his crimes, I guess..:yuck:
 
Astronuc
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I would say that the intentional infliction of suffering (including injury or death) on another person or persons qualifies as evil, and perhaps engaging in conduct (intentionally or deliberately) in which the result is harm to the environment and living beings would qualify as evil.

Now I would ask - is that requisite harm or 'unnecessary' harm.

Should callous/depraved indifference to people or life in general qualify one as evil.

How about selfishness?

As for intentionally causing death, then we must address justifiable homicide and the death penalty.
 
Darkhorse
Evil....

Evil is only percieved by what we believe is right. Normally in the case of rebelion.
 
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I do agree with you penguinraider in some points, actually i see it this way:

War sometimes is a must, to push the evil of some one. However, sometimes an evil pushes another evil, and thus a benefit happend.

Not wanting to make the post long, an example is how Alexander deafeated Persia, who have been a curropted 'superpower' at that time, and it was almost no hope for the nations that persia ruled that they will be freed, if it did not came from the outside.

Hitler is bad, i do know. However, i can surely say he is at the epic list of 'leaders' who liberated the world from colonization criminal act of France and Britian. He pushed them and they push him for 6 years, and without exaggeration, it made those empires life at least 60 years 'shorter' if it is correct to say it this way.

End of my two pennys.
 
Ivan Seeking
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The number one cause of all the world's problems is low self esteem - Deepak Chopra

Another one that I wonder about: How many decisions for war have been made by alcohol saturated brains?
 
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Hrm... saying Michaelangelo is evil because he designed weapons is akin to saying EInstein is evil because his calculations (and intervention) led to the Manhattan Project.

For that matter, Newton is evil because he invented Calculus which is critical for ballistics work.

As for "unnecessary deaths of tens of millions of people," you could call out the Allies for starting World War II... there definately wouldn't have been 45 million casualties if Hitler were allowed to create his Third Reich Empire.

As for Bush's "evil" invasion and occupation of Iraq, I doubt if the death toll on both sides has risen much above 100,000... a fifth of the casualties from the American Civil War.

This much is true-- war accelerates technological innovation. We would still get there, but not as fast if there isn't a country hell-bent on using it to their advantage in a war.
 
Math Is Hard
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Descartes gets evil points from me, even though I respect him as one of the greats in philosophy and mathematics. Descartes did not believe that animals experienced real suffering like humans. His followers used beat dogs and scoff at anyone who showed pity to their reactions. They also used to nail dogs' paws to boards and cut them open to observe the circulatory system.
 
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SpaceTiger
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I believe the world would be nothing as good as it is now if it weren't evil. P
I don't really believe in evil in the intrinsic sense, but I do think that one can take good things out of events that they perceive as bad. I like to think that our society is mature enough to have done this.
 
honestrosewater
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When MIH gets some rest, she may be able to add more to this. One response to one of the problems of evil introduces levels of evilness and goodness, claiming that lower, evil levels are necessary for higher, good levels. For instance, say, poverty (a lower evil) must exist in order for charity (a higher good) to exist. Just something I've heard and am passing along...


I'll have to check out that Descartes story too. :frown:
 
loseyourname
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Math Is Hard said:
Descartes gets evil points from me, even though I respect him as one of the greats in philosophy and mathematics. Descartes did not believe that animals experienced real suffering like humans. His followers used beat dogs and scoff at anyone who showed pity to their reactions. They also used to nail dogs' paws to boards and cut them open to observe the circulatory system.
There's a great example of what Penguinrader was talking about. Although Descartes inflicted a good deal of suffering on animals, he also managed to found modern physiology, laying the foundation for internal medicine as we know it today. Indirectly, he has alleviated a great deal of human suffering. Ironically, he has also alleviated much animal suffering when you consider that his contribution led to the rise of modern veterinary science as well.
 
Ivan Seeking
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As for the OP, it is impossible to prove how history might have been changed given that certain variables were changed, but it can easily be argued that challenges, not evil and war, have helped to advance the human condition. To say that we must have evil or evil acts in order to provide challenges is silly.

The only reason that war results in advancements is the need created, and the effort and money put forth. It is all a matter of priorities. If we accept war and try to glorify it, we will certainly continue to use it as a destructive "tool" of politics.

Consider this, it is possible that one of the greatest set backs for human knowledge was the burning of the library at Alexandria - this is what we get from war. For one, this event likely set back medicine at by as much as 1500 years in some cases; such as in the case of brain surgery. Also, history is riddled with great scientists whose work was inhibited or delayed due to war.

I think the original post suggests that even from the worst of things we find positive results, but that does not suggest that we must start with the bad to get the good. It only shows that life is complex.
 

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